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Neuromuscular program and injuries in young female athletes

Summary of an article on the effectiveness of a neuromuscular exercise program on reducing the number of injuries in young female ball players.

Who

474 young female athletes aged 14 (±1.7) playing basketball, soccer and volleyball (USA). 222 girls were middle school students and 252 high school students.

Intervention group
259 athletes: 103 middle school, 156 high school
Sham group
215 athletes: 119 middle school, 96 high school

Design

Cluster randomised controlled trial.

clusterteam

Intervention (CORE) group

  • Neuromuscular exercises focused on the trunk and lower limb in season until the first competition: 20-25 minutes, 3 times per week;
  • when competition started: 10-15 minutes, 2 times per week.

Sham group

  • Resisted running with bands in season until the first competition: 20-25 minutes, 3 times per week;
  • when competition started: 10-15 minutes, 2 times per week.

Outcome measures/tests

Injury “any injury causing cessation of participation in the current session, any injury that caused cessation of participation on the day after the day of onset, any fracture, any dental injury, and any mild brain injury, regardless of time missed from participation”.

Athlete exposure (one athlete participating in one practice or game session).

Main results

  • 177 athletes sustained 241 injuries. CORE group sustained significantly fewer injuries (107 injuries; 5.34 injuries/1000AEs) than sham group (134 injuries; 8.54 injuries/1000AEs).
  • In basketball, CORE reduced injuries in high school athletes, but not in middle school athletes.
  • In soccer, no difference between groups.
  • In volleyball, CORE was effective in reducing overall injuries, especially in middle school athletes.
  • Middle school athletes from the CORE group had reduced knee injuries. No effect on ankle injuries.

Take home message

For a clinician
Neuromuscular training was effective in reducing the number of injuries in young female athletes, especially in volleyball. It was also effective in reducing knee injuries (but not ankle injuries) in middle school basketball, soccer, and volleyball female athletes.
For a parent
This training program reduced injuries in teenage girls playing volleyball.
For an athlete
If you are a teenage girl playing volleyball: this training program may help you reduce injuries.

Original article

Foss KD, Thomas S, Khoury JC, Myer GD, Hewett TE. A school-based neuromuscular training program and sport-related injury incidence: a prospective randomized controlled clinical trial. Journal of athletic training. 2018 Jan;53(1):20-8.

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